Real Estate Rama
By: Real Estate Rama
January 29, 2014
ROC USA® has been awarded a $4 million grant from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation on behalf of three non-profit lenders to expand resident ownership opportunities in affordable manufactured housing communities. The grant is part of the foundation's new CDFI Collaboratives program, a $33 million commitment to help CDFIs build capacity and jumpstart job creation in low- and moderate-income communities.
The social venture established a regionally focused partnership among three U.S. Department of Treasury-certified community development financial institutions: ROC USA Capital of Concord, N.H., Leviticus 25:23 Alternatives Fund of Elmsford, N.Y., and Mercy Loan Fund of Denver. The collaboration will help transform manufactured housing communities through resident ownership by preserving the affordability of these existing homes and helping families build financial security. The partnership's work will focus on hard-to-serve low- to moderate-income neighborhoods in 10 statewide markets, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. The collaborating organizations have already identified five potential manufactured housing communities for conversion to resident ownership and operation, and hope to increase that number to 12 within the three-year duration of this specific program.
Paul Bradley, founding president of ROC USA, said that by aligning the social venture with these three CDFI partners, he expects to leverage the $4 million grant nine times that amount in resident community purchases.
"The JPMorgan Chase Foundation's unprecedented equity grant in CDFIs is astute. It addresses the biggest problem for growing nonprofit CDFIs, which is balance sheet strength," Bradley said. "This grant will help us serve at least a dozen locally owned, regionally supported and nationally strengthened low- and moderate-income communities."
"The JPMorgan Chase Foundation is proud to help CDFIs like ROC USA Capital, the Leviticus Fund and Mercy Loan Fund expand the reach of their successful manufactured housing finance model through our new CDFI Collaboratives program. This collaborative, led by ROC USA, will help preserve, revitalize and build quality affordable housing in low- and moderate-income communities across the U.S.," said Janis Bowdler, Senior Program Director for Financial Capability and Affordable Housing, JPMorgan Chase Foundation.
The resident ownership model works in for-sale communities whose landowners are interested in working with their homeowners/tenants. Homeowner groups form a cooperative organization that, with the help of ROC USA and its network of Certified Technical Assistance Providers, perform due diligence on the community and its infrastructure and secure financing for the purchase of the community land from the landowner. If the cooperative members decide to move forward with the purchase, they can count on ongoing technical assistance for at least the life of their loan. Homeowners in resident-owned communities enjoy the benefits that come with land ownership. They cannot be forced out of their home through a land sale and any rent changes are voted on by the membership. They are secure in knowing that the land beneath their house cannot be sold for redevelopment, forcing them to move or even abandon their biggest asset -- their home.
Greg Maher, Executive Director of the Leviticus Fund, applauded the JPMorgan Chase Foundation's initiative to seed creative and collaborative problem-solving among CDFIs to address tough community development challenges within low-income areas.
"Homeowners in manufactured housing communities in the tri-state area and the Mid-Atlantic region, as well as throughout the country, face the prospect of losing their homes if their community is closed, a devastating blow to family stability and assets," Maher said. "The CDFI Collaboratives Program is a unique opportunity for the Leviticus Fund, ROC USA and Mercy Loan Fund to share best practices and pool capital and human resources to help these affordable communities of choice sustain themselves in the future."
Julie Gould, Mercy Loan Fund President, said the JPMorgan Chase Foundation showed exceptional insight into what CDFIs need to bring their work to scale: collaboration.
"Mercy Loan Fund is thrilled to be working with ROC USA Capital and Leviticus Fund to expand ROC USA's successful lending model to bring cooperative homeownership to residents of manufactured housing communities," Gould said. "We participated in a loan to finance 169 Champion Homes in the Syracuse, N.Y., area and are very pleased with the early success of the residents along a path to homeownership. Home is just the beginning, in our view."
Michael Sloss, managing director of ROC USA Capital, said that investing wisely in low-income communities is good national economic policy which stimulates growth, job creation and healthy neighborhoods.
"ROC USA Capital welcomes JPMC Foundation's investment," Sloss said. "We are excited to grow our impact with the JPMC Foundation grant to empower lower-income homeowners in the Mid-Atlantic and West to buy and improve their manufactured home communities, transforming them into healthy neighborhoods and long-term community assets."